April 24, 2009 ~ 08:23pm
I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as job security. Given the current economic situation, I am pretty sure I am not alone. If I were evaluating a position for employment, it would be the last criteria I would use to assess the quality of the job. Someone once told me that job security causes one to neglect his or her own personal development. Somehow, subconsciously, I have always believed that. I think its rather naive to think that an individual education halts when he gets a college diploma or higher degree. Even worse is the notion that all that learning is sufficient to guarantee someone a prosperous career for the rest of their life.
Some people do beleive that there is great potential to "learn on the job", however I question the value of that learning. Corporations generally expect their employees to revel only in what they have to offer - whether it is obsolete technology or antiquated business models. And, for the right paycheck, most will do just that. However what happens when one realizes that years of dedication to a dieing product or diminishing market shows no future promise? Does dedication mean anything at all?
It seems logical that seniority and experience in a company hold some value. If one has done the same thing for so long don't they become an expert? Maybe, but consider the alternate view: If that person is such an expert he or she may be doomed to always work on the exact same thing, because they have made themselves "irreplaceable" and their very career depends on that product to always exist. Is that secure? Or just as plausible: what if someone of 3 years is just as competent as someone of 10? How much time does it take to realize there is only so much potential in one subject? Something about all your eggs ...
Once upon a time, young professionals could join a company and dedicate their entire lives to the career that ensued. They would be mostly content and retire happy. However somewhere in the past few decades greed and corporate malfeasance has completely eroded the value of the employee: the basic building block of any company. And even sadder is that people, as employees, have taken so long to recognize this. Neglecting to learn new skills or focus on personal development, they may find themselves no better off than the same companies who laid them off. The exact companies struggling to survive in the current economic crisis.
There is one thing I have come to realize over the past few years, and that is the fallacy of expecting someone else to guarantee your career. While not all companies are failures, they are all subject to the same trends and changes that are ultimately unpredictable. It is each and everyone's own responsibility to ensure their own success whatever that may require. All the years of your professional life should be for preparing for what comes next, not what has been. Investing in yourself may be the best decision you will never come to regret.